United Pilots Get Up To 40.2 Percent Increases In Tentative Contract


United pilots will get a raise in pay of up to 40.2 percent over the next four years under a tentative contract deal reached Saturday. United was the last of the majors to settle with its pilots and the major increase was inevitable after Delta and American inked similar deals with their pilots. The 14,000 United pilots still have to ratify the deal. They are represented by the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA).

United CEO Scott Kirby seemed relieved to get the deal done. “The four-year agreement, once ratified, will deliver a meaningful pay raise and quality of life improvements for our pilots while putting the airline on track to achieve the incredible potential of our United Next strategy,” he said. Although ALPA maintains there is no pilot shortage influencing these hefty pay increases, that position may be put to the test over the next couple of years. United, Delta, American and Southwest want to hire about 8,000 new pilots this year, according to Reuters.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Now onto possibly returning civility to airline travel: seating that actually accomodates the pax, and dress code requirements for pax. Somewhere, and I don’t remember where, a study demonstrated that “dressing for success”, men in sport coats and ties, etc., much like dressing in a military uniform, reinforces “appropriate” behavior.

    • Great idea — and I agree — BUT … good luck with that notion, Rich.

      This’ll just make things worse because now UAL will seek ways to cut costs or increase profits in other areas.

    • So do I. Unfortunately there is as much chance in that happening as actually pricing fares that reflect the actual cost of that flight. As long as bankruptcy protection is available, eventually the money losing airlines will use that protection to roll back pilot wages again, as they have in to past.

    • It would take congress to mandate the seating requirements. No airline board of directors in their right mind is EVER going to give up capacity.

      • Nor should they give up capacity, as long as the vast majority of their customers buy tickets based on the lowest price. It’s like people eating at McDonalds and complaining “The filet mignon is dry and tasteless.” McD’s *could* improve their product, but they’d lose business to the vendors providing food at a lower price.

        Reminds me of an old cold-war-era joke. An American is flying on Aeroflot and asks for a first-class seat.

        “There are no classes in the Soviet Union,” he’s told.

        “But how to I get in the bigger, more comfortable seats?”

        “You pay more.”

        As long as the vast majority of American travelers buys their tickets solely based on the fare, the airlines aren’t going to be interested in providing any level of comfort beyond what’s required by regulations. Congress certainly might step in, after which all the airlines will comply and raise the ticket prices to maintain profits.

    • Really? I literally was figuring the cost per passenger for a round trip ticket from DFW to LHR yesterday applied to the flight deck crew. As a 777 captain with 2 FOs our salaries for the 19+ hours of flying would cost each passenger $57. That’s round trip, not each way. With the projected 21% pay raise in our latest TA that would mean a $12 increase, less than 1% of the price AA charges based on traveling in coach.

      We haven’t started voting yet. So it will be interesting to see if AA meets the quality of life provisions they told us they couldn’t do before the UAL AIP or it gets voted down.

  2. From what I understand, the UAL pilot contract expired five years ago…which meant no raises since then. The “40% raises” in the new contract is as of the END of the new four-year contract…which means it reflects a 40% raise OVER A NINE YEAR PERIOD. I don’t think that’s unreasonable.